Summer is finally here, which means we can now enjoy our basil plants, go for long bromantic walks and stop for a refreshing cold coffee. Yes, summer is by far our favourite season but it does come with its disadvantages. For one, many of us will need to prepare for a never ending onslaught of social events, such as children’s birthday parties, baptisms, engagement ceremonies and weddings. Our wallets will be depleted come November, only to be destroyed again by the Holiday Season. Luckily, coffee is a cheap habit. This might be the reason why so many Montrealers can’t seem to shake their addiction to caffeine. Costing an average of 4$ or less, a cup of coffee is cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and provides its beneficiary with an immediate feeling of euphoria. Just a few days ago, we were frantically searching for a coffee watering hole, when we accidentally stumbled into Cafellini. Call it what you will, but this discovery was clearly not a coincidence – it was a message from the caffeine Gods.
The last two weeks have been quite hectic – we’ve been working late, travelling, attending networking events and sleeping when we can. It’s gotten to the point where we need to plan a few weeks in advance just to grab a coffee together (sad, we know). Nonetheless, after a short hiatus, things have finally calmed down and we are back to business as usual. Seeing as we were both in desperate need of bromance, we decided to meet up in the middle of the week at Café Chiado 28, a Portuguese cafe-bistro.
“It’s moments like this where I wish I had a pancake lens.”, Joey said.
“If you don’t hurry up you’re going to look like a pancake. I can see a car coming.”, David replied.
We were back in Villeray and Joey was sitting in the middle of the street, trying take a picture of Paroisse Saint-Cecile, while David nervously watched for oncoming traffic.
Joey: “Ok, got it!”
David: “Was it really worth almost dying over a picture?”
Joey: “Bro, have a little faith.”
David: “Can we go get coffee now? I’m dying here.”
David was right. It was almost 11AM and we hadn’t had our caffeine fix yet. There was just something about this neighborhood that grabbed our attention. Between its vibrant art murals, tucked-away alleys and quaint shops; Villeray is much like a small village within a big city. We slowly made our way down De Castelneau Street, until we reached Cafe Ferlucci, a small neighborhood cafe with a growing reputation.
We were well dressed and our hair was perfectly coiffed. Armed with our Ray Ban sunglasses and our sense of adventure, we decided to explore a place we had often heard about but never visited. Little did we know that this excursion would open our eyes to a whole new world. As Google Maps lead us through the Atwater Market, past Griffintown and across the Lachine Canal, we had finally reached our destination. David carefully parked his rust colored Fiat 500 on Centre Street. We both got out of the bromance mobile and observed our surroundings. This was the place. This was Pointe-Saint-Charles.
Real-Estate brokers, investors and successful business owners will tell you time and time again that location is everything. Whether you want to start your own legal practice or open a “cat friendly” cafe, choosing the right location can mean the difference between feast or famine. One of the most sought after areas in the city of Montreal is the Old Port, which attracts millions of people each year. It is known for its many restaurants, terraces and boutiques. It is also the site of such key architectural structures as Montreal City Hall, the Palais de Justice de Montréal, the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Notre-Dame Basilica. For locals, it’s a great place to go out on a date or enjoy a casual stroll while soaking up the European inspired architecture. For tourists, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many street performances and visit Montreal’s oldest historical sites.
Last week, Emma Morano, the oldest person in the world, passed away at the graceful age of 117. She was believed to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s. Having lived for over a century, she most likely witnessed a drastic change in modern society, specifically with respect to transport. The world has come a long way since the days when our great grand-parents used a horse and cart to get around. With huge advances in science and technology, the average person living in the 21st century now owns a car. That being said, our generation is slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in an urban context. It isn’t just the smog or car accidents; in a city, cars aren’t even a convenient way to get around. In fact, a growing number of European cities are banning cars in certain neighborhoods. With so much traffic, construction and pollution, it’s no wonder so many urbanites have adopted cycling as an alternative way to get around the city. Imagine a place where cyclists can shop or repair their bicycles, all while enjoying a cup of coffee. Enter Allo Vélo.
The fashion industry moves way too fast. One day you walk out the door wearing a deep v-neck t-shirt, looking like a total stud, and the next day people are calling you a douchebag. In today’s society it can be quite difficult to keep up with current fashion trends as they are continually evolving. What might have been the coolest thing to wear a few seasons ago can now be totally outdated. This social phenomenon can also be seen in the food industry. “Organic”, “vegan”, “clean eating” and “healthy” are words we commonly see on television and read in social media. Celebrity chefs often remind us that using locally sourced produce not only encourages small businesses, but can also have certain health benefits. One of the most talked about trends at the moment is farm-to-table; a movement which promotes acquiring food directly from the producer. In coffee circles, this movement is often referred to as “third wave coffee”. Last week we paid a visit to Café Névé Laval, one of the top players in Montreal’s third wave coffee scene. Going in skeptical but intrigued, we left with a growing interest in this popular trend.
Life can get pretty busy sometimes, and this past Saturday was no exception. Between our regular household chores, visiting the tailor and picking up a dozen zeppole for San Giuseppe, we both had our hands full and decided to reschedule our morning bromance to later that afternoon. As we zipped down the highway in the bromance mobile, we reminisced about how simple life was in our early twenties. Back then, there were no full time jobs, mortgages or life insurance policies. Our biggest concern was whether we were going to eat pizza or 2$ chow mein after leaving the club at 3 AM. Perhaps our fathers were right when they said: “enjoy it now, while you still can.” When we finally reached Westmount and walked into the new Cafe Gentile location, we were shocked to see how busy it was.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Spring was just around the corner but we were still dealing with a winter that refused to die! We had hoped for a mild Saturday morning, but yet again the bitter cold was threatening our existence and testing Joey’s ability to take pictures for our article. Nevertheless, this was definitely not the first time we had visited the quaint neighborhood of Villeray. In fact, over the past few years, Villeray had become a regular meeting place for our bromance sessions. Its proximity to Jarry Park, the Jean-Talon market and Little Italy make it the perfect location for young families and empty nesters seeking a diversified urban lifestyle. With this change in social demographic, independently owned businesses have been seemingly popping up all over the area.
Have you ever walked into a cafe and said to yourself: there’s something in the air, the vibe, the food, and the people? That’s what the dynamic duo felt this past Saturday on a blisteringly cold morning. Whenever it gets cold like this we think of when our grandparents emigrated from Southern Italy, and if only they could have sold that extra cow to pay for a boat ticket to Australia; life could have been very different…
Anyhow back to our Canadian reality… Dei Campi translates into Deschamps, which is the last name of the extremely talented pastry chef, wife and co-owner behind this Rosemont gem. Together with her charming husband Nick, Isabelle cranks out some seriously decadent vegan desserts. Have we converted to veganism? Time to find out: